Even though the United States is home to the world’s most expensive health care system, Americans should not be putting costs over their health. Hence, the Affordable Care Act. A recent Gallup poll taken over a year after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act has found that one out of every three Americans avoid receiving medical treatment or taking loved ones to the doctors because they are afraid of paying what they perceive as astronomical health care costs.

Gallup researchers conducted telephone interviews from Nov. 6-9, 2014, and included 828 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Respondents were asked if they had put off any type of medical treatment in the past year. If they did put off medical treatment, they were also asked to rate the severity of the condition or illness. Researchers accounted for each respondent’s medical coverage, including no coverage.

Findings revealed that 57 percent of uninsured Americans had avoided medical treatment in the past 12 months. Twenty-two percent of Americans with Medicare or Medicaid and 34 percent of those with private insurance also admitted that they put off medical treatment due to the potential cost. Rates of Americans with private health insurance who avoided medical treatment increased from 25 percent in 2013 to 34 percent in 2014.

Overall, 22 percent of Americans said they had put off medical treatment for a “very” or “somewhat serious” condition compared to 11 percent of Americans who avoided receiving treatment for a “non-serious” condition. While the rate of Americans who did not seek medical attention over a “non-serious” condition stayed at 11 percent between 2013 and 2014, the rate for those put off treatment for a “very” or “somewhat serious” condition increased from 19 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2014.

The rate of Americans with annual household incomes under $30,000 who avoided their doctors dropped from 43 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2014. On the other hand, the rate of Americans with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more who avoided medical treatment increased from 17 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2014. The rate of Americans with a household income between $30,000 and $74,999 also increased from 33 percent in 2013 to 38 percent in 2014.

Although the rate of insured Americans has swelled from 82 percent in 2013 to 86 percent in 2014, the rate of Americans who avoid medical treatment, both those with private insurance and those covered under the Affordable Care Act, also continues to increase. Critics of Obamacare are quick to contribute these findings to the ineffectiveness of the Affordable Care Act or its consequential effect on the price of treatment for privately insured Americans, however, costs of most medical procedures have started to remain stagnant in the past few years.

Published by Medicaldaily.com